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Without a doubt, health care is going to be a hot button issue in the rapidly approaching 2012 presidential election. While GOP hopefuls agree - President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) needs to be repealed—they have very different opinions regarding the future of health care in our country.
According to a recent survey, “Health care and the national deficit tied as the second-most important issue after job creation in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Forty-two percent of the 1,000 adults nationwide surveyed by PwC's Health Research Institute said they would prefer lower health care costs over an economic rebound.”
The importance of this topic isn’t in question for the major Republican presidential contenders. All agree that addressing our nation’s health care dilemmas is a key issue, but they each have a different plan in terms of the best road to take.
Here is the latest buzz on what the top GOP candidates are saying about health care reform (in alphabetical order):
Minnesota representative and Tea Party notable Michelle Bachmann attests that Obamacare will result in millions of jobs lost as well as trillions of dollars in unforeseen costs to the American public. If elected, in addition to repealing PPACA, Bachmann believes, “we need to stabilize Medicare, which faces $25 trillion in unfunded obligations under the most optimistic projections.”
Bachmann thinks by promoting creativity and competition, health care will be reformed and quality of care will improve while the cost will decrease. “As President,” she says, “I will work to unleash the power of medical innovation and personal choices. Because a cure is always better and cheaper than care…”
Atlanta-born businessman Herman Cain believes “Obamacare still has yet to address the 50 million uninsured Americans, while forcing the rest of the working population to support them.”
However, Cain notes, “Patient-centered free market health care reforms have already been developed and introduced in Congress, but they are stuck in committee and they can’t get out. With the right leadership we can get them out and get them passed.”
Cain’s solution would involve repealing PPACA and replacing it with a patient-centered market that allows for less restrictions on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and “help to empower Americans to save and invest their own money to expand their options for health care.”
According to Gingrich, "We must repeal and replace the left's big government health bill with real solutions that will lower costs and improve health outcomes." Gingrich asserts, “Health care can be transformed from an anchor on our economy to an engine..from a broken, fragmented system to a coordinated, innovative system that delivers more choices at lower cost for all Americans.”
The former Speaker of the House has a 13-point “Patient Power” plan that he will attempt to implement if elected. Some key points of the “Patient Power” plan include:
“This comprehensive approach—cost, quality, competition, and coverage—can solve the problem of the uninsured with no individual mandate and no employer mandate. Everyone would be able to obtain essential health care and coverage when needed,” says Gingrich. He does not believe Obamacare addresses the root of America’s health care crisis and that it will actually make matters worse if fully enacted.
The former Governor of Utah and former U.S. Ambassador to China believes that Obama’s health care plan is both unaffordable and unconstitutional. Huntsman has published a 12-page manifest that outlines his stance on several of the key issues in this election, including health care. (See Time to Compete: An American Jobs Plan).
According to Forbes magazine, “The plan contains significant health policy reforms that would dramatically improve the (shrinking) private-sector portion of our health-care system.”
Huntsman’s believes, “The employer tax exclusion is at the heart of everything that is wrong with our system: the overspending on extraneous health benefits; the lack of price- and value-consciousness on the part of patients; and the lack of health insurance portability that makes people afraid to leave, or lose, their jobs. As I’ve written in the past, the number-one market-oriented health reform policy we need is to gradually move away from this system.”
Texas Representative Ron Paul is no stranger to health care. Paul received his medical degree from Duke University in 1961, and later went on to serve as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force. If elected, he will seek to repeal Obama’s health care plan and move in the direction of “Freedom Not Force” and the idea of “Do No Harm” when it comes to health reform in the United States.
Paul claims he would “fight to put you back in control of your health care decisions, save you money on medical expenses, and institute reforms that will once again make America’s health care system the standard for other nations to follow.”
He believes “the key to effective and efficient medical care is the doctor-patient relationship. Yet, federal bureaucrats continue to believe that their one-size-fits-all policies will lower costs, increase access, and cure an ailing industry.”
“Excessive regulation, immoral mandates, and short-sighted incentives,” he says, “have created a system where no one is happy, doctors pass quickly from one patient to the next, insurance is expensive to get and difficult to maintain, and politicians place corporate interests ahead of their constituents.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry hopes to implement his Cut, Balance and Grow Plan, which outlines a means to, “Cut taxes and spending, balance the budget by 2020 and grow jobs in the economy.”
In the plan, Perry refers to PPACA as a job-killing federal law that needs to be repealed.
“The best way for the federal government to improve health care in the near term is to stimulate job creation so more Americans are covered by employer-sponsored health plans,” Perry notes. “Creating jobs will also reduce the strain on public safety net programs like Medicaid, saving taxpayer dollars.”
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, is no stranger to health care reform. In 2006, he implemented his own version of health care reform. According to Romney’s plan, “The law says people earning under three times the federal poverty level—that's $29,000 a year for an individual—can buy a state-subsidized health plan with no deductibles and rich benefits, including dental care.”
Many elements of PPACA’s reform measures were based up the Massachusetts plan, including the state’s health care exchange. As a result, Romney has been subject to criticism because of his role in previously supporting those reforms.
Today, however, Romney has announced his opposition to PPACA because he believes federal regulation needs to be limited and the power needs to come from the individual states. If elected, Romney’s health care reform would include empowering states to manage their own health care plans, reforming medical malpractice by putting a cap on damages, strengthening health savings accounts (HSA), and reforming taxes to enable individuals to purchase their own insurance.
Romney notes, “Our next president must repeal Obamacare and replace it with market-based reforms that empower states and individuals and reduce health care costs. States and private markets, not the federal government, hold the key to improving our health care system.”
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is another advocate for repeal of Obamacare as quickly as possible.
While attending the GOP debate in Ames, Iowa Santorum stated, “President Obama’s health care law is the reason that I’m running for office…I believe Obamacare will rob America of its soul.” It will lead to “freedom in American being forfeited.”
The Pennsylvanian appears to take no hostages when it comes to the issue of health care reform and was quoted as saying something to the effect, “That people who can’t afford health care should stop whining about the high costs of medical treatments and medications and spend less on non-essentials.”
If any of the GOP candidates mentioned above make their way into the oval office, many major provisions of PPACA likely will be repealed, especially if the Republicans maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and take over control of the U.S. Senate (or narrow the Democratic majority). Each GOP candidate has his or her own idea regarding the country’s health care solution, but only time will tell if any of them have the opportunity and the wherewithal to make their proposed solution a reality.
We have covered many of the related issues that involve PPACA and will continue to follow these issues for you. Please visit www.HealthcareExchange.com for those and other blog posts, polls, surveys and numerous resources and visit www.benefitmall.com to view past Legislative Alerts.
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